Organic vs. Non-Organic App Installs: What Advertisers Need to Know


ADOTAS – In today’s app world, there is so much competition for developers that it is practically impossible for them to get their mobile apps even noticed. As a result, developers have found multiple ways to manipulate the app stores or beat the system in order to bring attention to their apps and drive downloads.

There are only two ways for a developer to drive installs of their app(s) — either organically or non-organically. An organic install occurs when a user encounters an app that they decide is worthy of purchasing or downloading for free, due to their high level of interest in the app. On the other hand, a non-organic install is one that incentivizes users in order to encourage a download and installation of the app. Non-organic app installs can be achieved in numerous ways, but keep in mind they don’t always bring value to your business and can be a waste of your company’s time and money.

The three most commonly known forms of non-organic installs happen through the use of incentives such as virtual goods or extra game content, bot farms and other paid services. The most popular form of non-organic installs is the use of incentivized traffic, where users are prompted to download and install an app in exchange for virtual currency or other extra game content. Just a few months ago, the use of bot farms and other paid services to enhance app rankings was brought to the attention of Apple. Apple quickly responded by warning developers that the use of non-organic methods would lead to the ban of their app from the iTunes app store.

Bot farm services are generally founded in countries where labor is particularly cheap. App developing studios have been scrutinized for paying bot farm operators anywhere from $5,000 upward. In return, bot farm operators promise to have programmed robots download the app numerous times until the promised app ranking is reached. Other developers have been reprimanded for utilizing services that skew yet increase their app’s true rating by having individuals leave fake reviews and award high ratings in app stores.
Unarguably, one can infer that the use of any non-organic methods to drive app installs brings absolutely no value to the developer attempting to drive installs of their app. Why is that, you ask? Well, the answer is quite simple. Whether incentivizing users to download an app or paying a third party service to make your app look more popular than it really is, users will download your app, receive their incentive for downloading, and uninstall your app or never use it again after realizing that it wasn’t as good as it was portrayed. In the end the advertiser will have spent thousands of dollars to find that these downloads did not convert to users.

Research by app experts have led to the discovery that nearly all users who download through the use of incentivized traffic run the app once and never return to use it. The conversion rates seen through the use of incentivized traffic, bot farms and other paid services have proven to be unsuccessful due to their extremely low conversion rates.

Let it be clear that paid per install methods are not the issue — incentivized installs, bot farms, and other paid services are, because they do not create lifelong customers for publishers, they simply skew the app rankings and deceive users.


  1. Great post, Giancarlo.

    We have tried lots of various outlets to drive users to 10 our apps within the Android and iOS marketplace. We have see the inherent problems of other developers “playing” the system to drive their rankings, and often copying apps or keywords to fake it to the top. It makes doing business the legit way difficult, or near impossible. Who’s policing this!!!

    I hope Apple and Google puts a stop to the scammers, and brings us back to a true free market.

    As far as ads, we have tried the Incent model, and it does drive users…but there is little to no way to actually monetize them, so its essentially a loss leader.

    Does TapIt have any unique offering that other platforms currently do not offer?

    Cheers – Scott

  2. Het Scott,

    My name is Glen and I work at TapIt! heading all marketing objectives. TapIt! has many great unique offerings that other platforms surely won’t offer. We have such granular targeting features along with in-depth advanced detailed reporting that gives you all the metrics you need in order to optimize current and or future campaigns.

    If you’d like more information, have questions, or would like to chat to see if there is an opportunity for us to work together feel free to contact me 888.444.1494

    -Glen Suh

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